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Education

Conceptual Framework

Conceptual Framework Table of Contents


Mission Statement

The mission of Evangel University is to provide opportunities for Assemblies of God individuals to develop academically and intellectually in an accredited Christian liberal arts educational program; and to inspire these individuals in a Pentecostal environment to develop spiritually, emotionally, and culturally in order to serve God and their fellow man in their chosen careers.

Theme: Christ Is Lord

Jesus Christ, for the Christian, is the most important fact in history, not only in world history, but in the personal history of the individual. Christians seek to be Christ-like in obedience, purpose, motivation, word, and deed.

Education Department: Philosophy, Purposes, and Goals

The Education Department, in cooperation with the other University departments and through its own curriculum development, implements professional career preparation programs in teaching, including Early Childhood, Elementary, Middle School, Secondary, and Special Education. Through these programs, it provides for the spiritual, intellectual, cultural, physical, and emotional development of the Christian teacher--one who is dedicated to the improvement of and service to the student and local and world communities.

Department Theme: "Caring, Committed, Competent Teachers Shape the Future"

Knowledge Base of the Teacher Education Programs:

  1. Academic Preparation: A teacher must be academically prepared in the following areas:
    1. General Education: The prospective teacher will explore new areas of interest, broaden his/her intellectual background, and integrate areas of knowledge through the understanding of similarities and differences in various fields of study.
    2. Pedagogy: An effective teacher must demonstrate appropriate pedagogical competencies involved in planning, using resources, utilizing time, maintaining a behavior management plan, providing a safe and positive learning environment, demonstrating sensitivity to differences, communicating effectively, using effective teaching strategies, and using appropriate assessment techniques.
    3. Content Area: An effective teacher will be one who has expertise in (a) specific content area(s).
  2. Human Relations/Personality: A teacher must be able to communicate with others effectively, understand and appreciate the differences of others, and develop a social awareness and compassion for human need. A teacher must be able to convey an enthusiasm for the subject content and learning in a warm, caring, and understanding way.
  3. Value System/Professionalism: A teacher will be a positive role model, will act in ways that respect the values of the subject matter and students he/she teaches, and will demonstrate high ethical standards as a professional.
  4. Wellness: A teacher will demonstrate a lifestyle that evidences physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual wellness.
  5. Multicultural Awareness: A teacher will exhibit an appreciation and tolerance for cultural diversity and possess a social awareness and compassion for human need

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The Teacher Education Graduate Of Evangel Will Be One Who Displays These Dispositions:

  1. Has enthusiasm for the discipline.
  2. Is a life-long learner, committed to continuous learning.
  3. Appreciates multiple perspectives.
  4. Appreciates and respects diversity and individuality and believes all students can learn.
  5. Is a thoughtful and responsive listener.
  6. Makes students feel valued.
  7. Respects privacy and confidentiality.
  8. Encourages student self-expression and open discussion in a culturally-sensitive setting.
  9. Is committed to student learning.
  10. Is concerned for the whole child.
  11. Recognizes the value of intrinsic motivation to students' life-long learning.
  12. Values development of students' critical thinking and independent problem solving.
  13. Values planning for instruction and appropriate revision of plans as needed.
  14. Engages in appropriate practices.
  15. Establishes a positive classroom climate.
  16. Values and is committed to ongoing assessment that is aligned with instruction and student learning.
  17. Recognizes professional responsibility to engage in appropriate professional practices and development.
  18. Is willing to give and receive help.
  19. Encourages and supports colleagues.
  20. Is sensitive to community.
  21. Is willing to work with others.

The Knowledge BASE of the Teacher Education Program encompasses the following Missouri standards (MO STEP):

  1. The entry-level teacher understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) within the context of a global society and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
  2. The entry-level teacher understands how students learn and develop and provides learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.
  3. The entry-level teacher understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  4. The entry-level teacher recognizes the importance of long-range planning and curriculum development and develops, implements, and evaluates curriculum based upon student, district, and state performance standards.
  5. The entry-level teacher uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage students' development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.
  6. The entry-level teacher uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  7. The entry-level teacher models effective verbal, nonverbal, and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  8. The entry-level teacher understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
  9. The entry-level teacher is a reflective practitioner who continually assesses the effects of choice and actions on others. This reflective practitioner actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally and utilize the assessment and professional growth to generate more learning for more students.
  10. The entry-level teacher fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and educational partners in the larger community to support student learning and well being.
  11. The pre-service teacher understands the theory and application of technology in educational settings and has technological skills to create meaningful learning opportunities for all students.

Teacher Education Program: Application, Admission, Progress and Completion

The Teacher Education Program consists of the following three levels: Entry, Mid-program, and Exit. Students must meet specific requirements at each level.

I. Entry Level - Provisional Admittance to Teacher Education

A. Criteria for Provisional Admittance

The student must:

  1. Achieve a 2.7 or above cumulative grade point average.
  2. Achieve a minimum grade of "B" in EDUC 220-Practicum in Foundations of Education.
  3. Obtain a satisfactory recommendation from the public school supervising teacher for EDUC 220.
  4. Begin the portfolio process.
  5. Reflect on the EDUC 220 practicum experience through journaling.
  6. Have a satisfactory health record. Any student placed in the public schools is required to have a medical clearance prior to placement.
  7. Have completed a plan of his major teaching field program(s) in cooperation with his advisor. A copy of the plan is to be kept by the applicant and by his advisor.
  8. Complete a self-assessment inventory.
  9. Secure satisfactory recommendations from his faculty advisor and two additional faculty members, one of which must be from the Education Department.
  10. Obtain a satisfactory recommendation from the Vice President for Student Development.
  11. Obtain a passing score on the C-BASE, the state mandated entry test. Students will have 12 months from the initial test date to pass all sections of the C-BASE.

B. How to Make Application

Application for provisional admittance to teacher education is made in EDUC 219--Foundations of Education. This class is prerequisite to all teacher certification courses unless an equivalent course has been transferred from another college. Applications for admittance are available in the office of the Education Department.  

Transfer students who have previously completed courses equivalent to EDUC 219-Foundations of Education and EDUC 220-Practicum in Foundations of Education should apply for admission immediately. Transfer students should note that a minimum grade of "B" in the course EDUC 220-Practicum in Foundations of Education or its equivalent is required for admittance to the teacher education program. Junior transfers with a minimum grade point average of 2.7 will be permitted to enroll provisionally in teacher education courses for one semester to give the Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval time to process the application. Transfers should complete the C-BASE early in the first semester of residence at Evangel.  

All Education major transfer students must plan to complete at least three semesters at the University. Two semesters are required to meet the minimum 30-credit-hour residency requirement for a degree before one may enroll for the third semester (student teaching). No more than 50 percent of the professional education courses will be accepted in transfer.  

C. Action of the Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval

The Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval acts on the data collected relating to the qualification for admission. Two statuses are possible when the student first makes application: (1) provisional approval, which indicates that the student may enroll in teacher education courses, and (2) denial of approval, which indicates that deficiencies exist which prevent approval. Students may reapply after one semester when the deficiencies are removed.  

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II. Mid-Program Level - Admittance to Teacher Education

A. Criteria for Admittance

The student must:

  1. Have been provisionally admitted to Teacher Education.
  2. Maintain at least a 2.7 grade point average.
  3. Receive a grade of "C" or above in one required composition course (ENGL 111 or ENGL 211) and one math course ( 121 or 124).
  4. Achieve a grade of "A" or "B" in all practicums.
  5. Secure a satisfactory recommendation from the faculty advisor and two additional faculty members, one of which must be from the Education Department (if not complete at the entry level).
  6. Have satisfactory recommendations from all public school supervising teachers of practicums.
  7. Have satisfactory recommendation from all university supervisors of practicums.
  8. Reflect on all practicum experiences through journaling.
  9. Meet all portfolio checkpoints satisfactorily.
  10. Have passed all parts of the C-BASE.

B. Action of the Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval

The Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval acts on the data collected relating to the qualifications for admission. Admission status will be one of the following: (1) approval, which indicates that all criteria are satisfactory, (2) continued provisional approval, which indicates that some deficiencies are present and the applicant may have until the end of the junior year to clear up the deficiencies (he/she may enroll in teacher education courses), or (3) denial of approval, which indicates that deficiencies are such as to deny the student's proceeding in the program.  

III. Exit Level - Student Teaching and Program Completion

A. Criteria for Admittance to Student Teaching

The applicant must:

  1. Have a 2.7 cumulative GPA by the end of the semester prior to application.
  2. Have a 2.5 GPA in the major and a 2.7 GPA in education courses, with no education course grade lower than a "C."
  3. Have removed all deficiencies if he/she was provisionally accepted into the Teacher Education Program.
  4. Have maintained good character.
  5. Have shown evidence of professional growth (practicum evaluations, portfolio checks, disposition review).
  6. Have the recommendation of the chair of the department of major.
  7. Have completed a total of 92 semester credits.
  8. Have completed general methods and the specialty methods prior to student teaching (Secondary majors).
  9. Have completed all the required courses in the chosen major.
  10. Have taken the appropriate PRAXIS specialty area exam.

B. Procedure for Making Application for Student Teaching

  1. The student must pick up the application forms in the Education office. These forms must be turned in by the third week of February during the semester of application, prior to the year of student teaching.
  2. After completion, the application form must be copied and three copies must be turned in to the Education Department office. The application form includes (1) a short autobiography, (2) the appropriate degree program sheet, which must be signed by the chair of the department of major and the student's advisor, (3) a personal data sheet, and (4) one recent picture of a good quality.
  3. Each student is required to have a health clearance.

C. Action of the Committee on Standards and Approval

Applicants for admission to student teaching are notified in writing as to the action of the Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval. The applicant is either approved or denied approval. In case of denial, reasons or deficiencies are specified. If these are remedied, the student may re-apply after one semester.

An applicant who wishes to appeal the decision of the Teacher Education Committee on Standards and Approval may do so in writing. This appeal shall be filed with the chair of the Education Department or with the Vice President for Academic Affairs. The Academic Council will act as the appeal committee.

If a student is approved for student teaching, the Education Department will assign placement and inform the student of the assignment. The cooperating teacher and the school principal receive copies of the student's credentials, including personal data sheets, record of credits, transcript, and autobiography.

Non-Evangel graduates wishing to be certified for teaching must:

  1. Complete 15 semester hours at Evangel, after which he/she will be processed for admission to the Teacher Education Program using the criteria required of all Evangel students.
  2. Have graduated from a college approved for teacher training by the state in which the college is located.

D. Criteria for Exit Level - Completion of Program - Teacher Licensure

The student must:

  1. Achieve a grade of "A" or "B" in student teaching.
  2. Reflect on the student teaching experience through journaling.
  3. Receive a passing score on the portfolio.
  4. Have completed all courses required for the degree and for teacher certification.
  5. Have a passing score on the required PRAXIS exam.
  6. Have a cumulative GPA of 2.7 or above and a GPA of 2.5 or above in the major.
  7. Have no grade below "C" in any education course.
  8. Have completed a program evaluation.
  9. Have completed a follow-up self-assessment.
  10. Have satisfactorily passed a background check.

E. Portfolio Requirement

Each Education major must complete a professional portfolio. All majors will be informed of the portfolio requirements in the introductory course Foundations of Education (EDUC 219). Several portfolio reviews are included at various points during each Education major's program. The completed portfolio is turned in to the student teaching seminar (EDUC 427) professor near the end of the student teaching semester. Portfolio completion is part of the seminar grade (see Education Major Handbook for portfolio guidelines).  

The portfolio is developed around the 11 MoSTEP standards, or quality indicators, that are based on INTASC* standards. These align with the 5 categories in the Evangel knowledge base (see alignment table). Faculty of the teacher education committee review the portfolio to determine if the candidate has adequately provided documentation of appropriate progress toward meeting these standards.

*Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium

IV. Recommendation for Certification

Final recommendation for certification in the state of Missouri is determined by satisfactory completion of college course work required for graduation and certification.

PRAXIS - All students are required to take the PRAXIS Examination in the specialty area (see Missouri requirements) and achieve the mandated score before receiving recommendation for certification.

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Knowledge Base Alignment to MoSTEP Standards

Knowledge Base/Conceptual FrameworkMOSTEP Standards
 I. Academic Preparation General Education   Pedagogy   Content   1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
 II. Human Relations/Personality   2,3,4,6,7,9,10
 III. Value System/ Professionalism   2,3,4,6,7,9,10
 IV. Wellness   6,7,9,10
 V. Multicultural Awareness   3,4,6,7,8,10

Evangel Education Department Student Teacher Evaluation Categories Aligned to State/INTASC Standards

MOSTEP/INTASCEvangel Evaluation Category
Knows the discipline I. A.-Academic Competence
Presents subject matter in multiple ways I. D.-Instructional Materials
I. E.-Instructional Methods and Activities
Applies knowledge of student learning and development I.I. Evaluation Techniques
II. C.-Motivation and Interest
V. A.-Individual Differences
Adapts instruction and assessment to meet student needs I. I.-Evaluation Techniques
V. A.-Individual Differences
V. B.-Cultural Awareness
Recognizes importance of planning and curriculum development and effectively creates lessons and adjusts instruction appropriately. I. B.-Planning
I. C.-Instructional Objectives
I. E.-Instructional Methods and Activities
I. I.-Evaluation Techniques
Uses variety of instructional strategies to encourage critical thinking. I. E.-Instructional Methods and Activities
I. G.-Discussion/Questioning Strategy
II. C.-Motivation and Interest
Creates a positive learning environment I. D. -Instructional Materials
I. G.-Discussion/Questioning Strategies
I. H.-Classroom Management
II. C.-Motivation and Interest
IV. A.-Emotional Stability
V. A.-Individual Differences
V. B. Cultural Awareness
Models effective verbal/nonverbal and media communication leading to collaboration and interaction I. F.-Communication Skills
I. G.-Discussion/Questioning Strategies
II. A.-Interpersonal Relationships
II. B.-Poise and Self-Confidence
II. C.-Motivation and Interest
Understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies effectively I. C.-Instructional Objectives
I. I.-Evaluation Techniques
V. A.-Individual Differences
Is a reflective practitioner Reflective Practice/Student Learning (new)
Develops caring professional and productive relationships in the school and community II. A.-Interpersonal Relationships
III. A.-Character Traits
III. B.-Initiative
IV. A.-Emotional Stability
Understands and appropriately uses technology I. D.-Instructional Materials
I. E.-Instructional Methods and Activities

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Department of Education Knowledge Base

The following Knowledge Base was researched, written, shared, and revised collaboratively by the Teacher Education Committee and the professional community. It has become the foundation of Evangel University’s Education program expectations, curriculum, and assessment.

Education Program Theme

The theme for the Evangel teacher education program is “caring, committed, competent teachers shape the future.” It is expected that a graduate will not only be professionally competent but will be a caring and committed teacher dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people and in our society and the world. For in their careers, these teachers will have the opportunity to mold and nurture the youth who will be the decision makers of the future. This concept is compatible with the goals of the university that emphasize the need for social awareness and compassion in order to better understand human need and to actively contribute to the life of one’s community.

A. Academic Preparation:

It is the belief of the teacher education faculty at Evangel that a caring, committed, and competent teacher will be one who is academically prepared. Thus, academics in the program must consist of a general education base, specific content area studies, and pedagogy. It is believed that the three are so inter-related that it is impossible to separate them, much less to say which is the most important. To be effective in the classroom, a teacher must be well rounded in each of these areas. A teacher is expected not only to teach the content in a subject area but also to teach the love of learning and to relate learning to the real world.

In the Evangel teacher education program, all of these components have a strong emphasis. All education majors complete a general education (liberal arts studies) of at least fifty-three semester credit hours in conjunction with a strong specialization in an academic content area (the equivalent of an academic major or concentration). Additionally a core of methodological and pedagogical courses (29-51 semester credit hours) is mandated in each certification field. A strong field based clinical experiences program is included. All students are required to have pre-student teaching clinical experiences ranging from a minimum of two to a maximum of five. The number of experiences required varies with each certification field. However, all majors are involved in early experiences during enrollment in EDUC 219, Foundations of Education, as well as other experiences during and at the end of the programs.

A.1 General Education

Over the past 50 years critics have voiced concerns that teacher education does not seem to be an “intellectual pursuit” (Lucas, 1997). Historically, teacher education has focused on the process of learning and not the content of the subject areas to be learned (Urban, 1990). Many educators and researchers believe that teacher preparation programs should have a foundation of academic preparation including a strong core of general education.

Evangel University’s philosophy of general education is to encourage all students to broaden their knowledge and interest; to prevent the student from getting a too narrow and too early specialization in a content area; and to mature and unify a student’s outlook so that he/she will be better prepared to fill a useful and satisfying place in society. The teacher education program adheres to this philosophy as it makes provision for a required core of at least 50 credits in the liberal arts.

A required core of courses can provide opportunities for students to learn about philosophies, institutions, literature and art of various cultures as well as to gain an understanding of mathematics and science (Cheney, 1989). A core of courses can contribute to the building of community and appreciation of others and their cultures. The Coordinating Board for Higher Education in the state of Missouri (2000) has stated in its rationale for its general education guidelines for all colleges that “through general education, the academy equips students for success in their specialized areas of study and for fulfilled lives as educated persons, as active citizens, and as effective contributors to their own prosperity and to the general welfare.” The report of the national Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (Darling-Hammond, 1997) presents a plan that has as its goal the preparation of “caring, competent, and qualified” teachers who possess the knowledge and skills necessary to ensure that all children learn. The general education core of Evangel University can be vital foundation for this preparation.

The Sallie Mae First Class Teacher program, which honors outstanding teachers, provided a forum for its honorees to speak out, through interviews and surveys, about issues of importance to educators. The results of the Sallie Mae study (1999) revealed that these exceptional teachers recognized the necessity for a blended education of a liberal arts background that provides strong academic preparation and pedagogical training.

In the “Report of the K-16 Teacher Education Task Force,” the American Federation of Teachers (2000) made ten recommendations for improving teacher preparation. One of these recommendations called for the establishing of core liberal arts and science course requirements for students who were to be admitted to teacher education programs in today’s colleges. The report indicated that future teachers needed a “sound foundation in the range of subjects and information relevant to K-12 student standards.”

The core of general education courses at Evangel University is designed to assist the prospective teacher in exploring new areas of interest, broadening his intellectual background, and integrating areas of knowledge through the understanding of similarities and differences in various fields of study. The faculty of the teacher education program believe that a graduate will be one who:

  1. has established a factual and conceptual base of knowledge
  2. demonstrates a broad liberal arts understanding as it applies to teaching
  3. demonstrates an appreciation for the beauty of nature, the arts, and literature through a study of the humanities
  4. demonstrates the ability to think clearly, reason logically, and communicate effectively
  5. demonstrates a social awareness and compassion for human need
  6. demonstrates an understanding of the physical universe through the sciences
  7. demonstrates an understanding and appreciation for the multi-cultural heritage of mankind
  8. has begun to develop a biblical view of the world and life, leading to the integration of faith, learning, and life
  9. exhibits a healthy lifestyle-physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

A.2 Pedagogy

The faculty believes that in order to be an effective teacher one must demonstrate appropriate pedagogical competencies. These pedagogical competencies are necessary to promote effective, long-term teachers focused on student learning.

Effective teaching practices have been identified through research such as The Scientific Basis of the Art of Teaching (Gage, 1978) and Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001). These practices have been quantitatively linked to improving achievement on standardized tests (Wittrock, 1986). Education coursework designed to introduce and develop these teaching strategies will ultimately benefit student learning.

Pedagogical training impacts both student learning and teacher performance. Much of the current research indicates that pedagogical preparation has a positive affect on teaching practice and student learning ( Wilson, Floden, &Ferrini-Mundy, 2001). Not only does research indicate a positive affect, it also indicates that well-prepared, capable teachers have the largest impact on student learning (Darling-Hammond, 2000). Teachers with training in pedagogy outperform teachers without such training (Laczko-Kerr & Berliner, 2002). In research conducted by Ferguson and Wommack (1993) the amount and quality of education coursework completed by a teacher was a stronger predictor of teacher effectiveness than content knowledge or grade point average.

According to Schon (1987), teaching falls into the category of professions that deal with uncertainty and conflict. The teaching profession requires the practitioner to be thoughtful about the process of teaching and learning. Reflective thought supports and develops the problem solving skills of the preservice educator (Danielson & McGreal, 2000). It is this systematic thinking that connects the teacher’s instruction to the students’ learning. In this manner reflection supports the experience and promotes the development of effective instructional skills in the preservice teacher.

Pedagogical competence is also important for teacher retention. According to Andrew & Schwab (1995) teachers who, among other factors, have intensive pedagogical training stay in teaching at a much higher rate than those teachers who don’t receive intensive pedagogical training.

National guidelines for teachers have been developed to reflect the research base. The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) designed a set of influential guidelines to be compatible with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, NBPTS (Danielson, 1996). The INTASC standards were then used as a model for the Missouri MoSTEP standards (Missouri Standards for Teacher Education Programs, MoSTEP, 1999). The Evangel University Education Department has chosen standards of practice, as well as being aligned with these national standards and state guidelines.

Pedagogical training plays an important role in the teacher preparation program at Evangel. The faculty believe that a graduate of our program:

  1. understands the central concepts, tools of inquiry and structures of the discipline(s) within the context of a global society and creates learning experiences that make these aspects of subject matter meaningful for students.
  2. understands how students learn and develop and is able to provide learning opportunities that support the intellectual, social, and personal development of all students.
  3. understands how students differ in their approaches to learning and creates instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners.
  4. recognizes the importance of long-range planning and curriculum development and develops, implements, and evaluates curriculum based upon student, district, and state performance standards.
  5. uses a variety of instructional strategies to encourage student’s development of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills.
  6. uses an understanding of individual and group motivation and behavior to create a learning environment that encourages positive social
    interaction, active engagement in learning, and self-motivation.
  7. models effective verbal, nonverbal and media communication techniques to foster active inquiry, collaboration, and supportive interaction in the classroom.
  8. understands and uses formal and informal assessment strategies to evaluate and ensure the continuous intellectual, social, and physical development of the learner.
  9. is a reflective practitioner who continually assesses the effects of choices and actions on others. This reflective practitioner actively seeks out opportunities to grow professionally and utilizes the assessment and professional growth to generate more learning for more students.
  10. fosters relationships with school colleagues, parents, and educational partners in the larger community to support student learning and well-being.
  11. understands the theory and application of technology in educational settings and has technological skills to create meaningful learning opportunities for all students.

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A.3 Content

There is considerable research showing how important teachers’ content knowledgeis to their effectiveness with students, especially at the middle and high school levels. The data is especially clear in math and science, where teachers who majored in the fields they teach routinely promote better student performance than teachers who did not (Haycock, 1998). A greater ability for planning progressive learning activities and contingency plans was demonstrated by the subject experts as well. When teaching subjects in which they were expert, the teachers were more comfortable and enthusiastic regarding their pedagogical duties and could accommodate a greater range of learner abilities (Schempp, Manross, & Tan, 1998).

The demands of teaching more challenging content to more diverse learners suggest a need for teacher education that enable teachers to become more sophisticated in their understanding of the effects of context and learner variability on teaching and learning. Instead of implementing set routines, teachers need to become ever more skillful in their ability to evaluate teaching situations and develop teaching responses that can be effective under different circumstances (Darling-Hammond, & Snyder, 2000). Education in the new century will require that teachers know more about their students, their subject matter, and the context of their work (Brandt, 2000). Content knowledge is the key to learning how to teach subject matter so that students understand it (Brandt, 2000). Today’s teachers face unprecedented challenges in the classrooms. The rapid expansion of knowledge and a demand for new skills in a highly technical society means that students must learn more than previous generations. Moreover, many of these students come to school with additional burdens like poverty, poor health, and inadequate English skills. Tomorrow’s teachers will need to know more and have a broader array of teaching strategies at their fingertips.

Understanding subject matter is essential to listening flexibly to others and hearing what they are saying or where they might be heading. Knowing content is also crucial to being inventive in creating worthwhile opportunities for learning that take learners’ experiences, interests, and needs into account. Contending effectively with the resources and challenges of a diverse classroom requires a kind of responsibility to subject matter, without which efforts to be responsive may distort students’ opportunities to learn (Ball, 1995). Moreover, the creativity entailed in designing instruction in ways that are attentive to difference requires substantial proficiency with the material (Ball, 2000). To improve our sense of what content knowledge matters in teaching, we would need to identify core activities of teaching, such as figuring out what students know; choosing and managing representations of ideas; appraising, selecting, and modifying textbooks; and deciding among alternative courses of action, then analyze the subject matter knowledge and insight entailed in these activities. This approach, a kind of job analysis of classroom teaching focused on the actual work that teachers do, could provide a view of subject matter as it is used in practice (Ball, 2000).

The faculty of the teacher education program believe that a graduate will be one who does the following:

  1. demonstrates an understanding of the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the discipline(s) within the contest of a global society and creates learning experiences that make these aspects matter meaningful for students.
  2. seeks to upgrade professional knowledge and skills related to current trends, issues, and research in the subject area discipline(s).

Conclusion:

In summary, the Education Department of Evangel University recognizes the necessity for teacher education to prepare preservice teachers academically through strong curricular offerings in general education, the major content areas, and in pedagogy. As a result of this preparation, we believe that the graduates of this program will be caring, committed, competent, reflective practitioners who positively affect student learning and growth. However, some elements of the curriculum and preparation of teachers are difficult to measure and to list in curriculum outlines or course syllabi, though they are of extreme importance in the teaching profession. These elements are related to the teacher’s attitudes, personality, relationships, awareness of and sensitivity to diversity, and values. The Education Department faculty believes that though these areas can be topics of lecture and research, they are best addressed and taught through modeling, discussion, and mentoring or supervision. These elements are discussed in the next sections of the knowledge base.

B. Human Relations/Personality

Personality characteristics may be critical to the success of prospective teachers ( Baldwin, 1990). For that reason, researchers have endeavored for years to measure the personality of effective teachers and to list necessary personality characteristics. School administrators, when asked to list quality indicators they used in selecting K-12 teachers, chose the following personality characteristics among the most important indicators: high level of concern and caring for students, flexibility in working with students and colleagues, and willingness to consider divergent ideas ( Moore, 1996). The National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future proposed that “by the year 2006, America will provide every student with what should be his or her educational birthright: access to competent, caring and qualified teaching” (Darling-Hammond, 1996).

In a survey designed to measure sixteen dimensions of personality, both elementary and secondary education majors demonstrated high levels of conformity, social awareness, self-sufficiency, and self-discipline ( Baldwin, 1990). First-year elementary teachers, when asked at the end of the year to reflect on their experiences, identified the effective practitioner as one who is caring, committed, highly creative, and is a proficient reflective thinker with a strong internal locus of control (Norton, 1997).

It is the belief of the faculty of the education program that an effective teacher is one who is able to convey to his/her students an enthusiasm for subject content and for learning and who relates to his/her students in a warm, caring, and understanding manner. One of the basic premises of Evangel University is that “the entire personality grows and develops through commitment to Christ and the search for truth” (University Catalog). It is our hope that all of our graduates will exhibit the following traits:

  • Congeniality and warmth
  • Compassion, empathy and respect for students
  • Approachableness
  • Teachableness
  • Willingness to accept differences
  • A sense of humor
  • Assertiveness
  • Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance (Holy Bible).

Schools are inherently complex, with diversity of personalities, social interactions, and expectations which all present a set of variables whose combinations are incalculable (Orlosky, 1988). Therefore, it is essential that a prospective teacher have the opportunity to develop human relation skills (Peart, 1999). The University and the faculty of the teacher education program support the concepts of communicating effectively (Peart, 1999), understanding and appreciating the differences of others, and developing a social awareness and compassion for human need (Wesley, 1998).

Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium (INTASC) crafted standards (1992) for licensing new teachers. These standards reflect the emphasis placed on dispositions that are essential for all teachers to possess in order to work effectively with other teachers and students. The following were included in the list of dispositions suggested by INTASC : the teacher appreciates multiple perspectives, appreciates and respects diversity and individuality among learners, believes all students can learn, is sensitive to community, makes students feel valued, establishes a positive classroom climate, is a thoughtful and responsive listener, is willing to give and receive help, is concerned for the whole child, respects privacy and confidentiality, is willing to work with others.

Because the development of such skills would enable a prospective teacher to relate with peers, students, and parents in an effective manner, the faculty of the teacher education program believe that a graduate will be one who will do the following:

  1. serve as a positive role model (Armstrong 1996, Mack 1995, McCabe 1995, McEwin 1989)
  2. provide assistance in problem solving by actively listening to students’ concerns and comments (Thomas 1998, Gordon, 1974)
  3. demonstrate, and encourage students to demonstrate, an understanding and acceptance of how students differ in their approaches to learning and be able to create instructional opportunities that are adapted to diverse learners (Dunn, 1994)
  4. follow and require students to follow procedures which show consideration for others (Aksoy, 1998)
  5. encourage students to develop expectations commensurate with their abilities (Wang 1993, Mack 1995)
  6. express sincere appreciation for the efforts of students (McCabe 1995)
  7. view education as a shared responsibility with other professionals, parents, and the community. (Steinberg, 1996)

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C. Value System/Professionalism

Although the formal teaching of values in U.S. public school classrooms has been a source of controversy in the past, recent studies and national polls reflect that this issue is now one that needs to be addressed. As a result, character education programs have become a major topic in the field of education. Incidents such as the national tragedies on our public school campuses, excessive cheating in schools, and attitudes of prejudice and intolerance have spurred discussions among educators throughout the country, with resulting programs and curricula for fostering moral and ethical values.

According to Zarra (2000), early U.S. historical values had their roots in theology training which included virtues and citizenship. These traits encompass much of what is now considered to be part of true character education: values such as honesty, integrity, cooperation, civility, empathy, responsibility, tolerance, compassion, altruism, sensitivity, acceptance, trustworthiness, caring, fairness, mercy, charity and respect for others. Zarra refers to articles by Yan and Bohlin 1996, Lickona 1993, and Massey 1993 when he states, “Calls for direct teaching and lifestyle modeling of character traits and historical national values are popping up in communities across the United States”(p154).

Many school districts are responding in specific ways to this call. Lundstrom (1999) reports that many “have instituted programs that do two things: provide students with a grounding in such values as courage and caring and teach them how to solve disputes peacefully (p.25). She says three of these districts, which include urban, suburban and rural areas, have found that the teaching of character and values makes for a better learning environment and more empathetic and respectful students.

In his article concerning the link between religion and character education, Lickona (1999) refers to the manifesto of the Character Education Partnership. This organization has a set of core values which “affirm our human dignity, promote the development and welfare of the individual, serve the common good, meet the classical tests of reversibility and universality and define our rights and responsibilities in a democratic society” (p.23).

Assisting students in the development of and appropriate demonstration of a Christian world view is an important aspect of the Evangel teacher education program and its goal to prepare professionals. The teacher’s value system should be reflected in professional behaviors. Professionalism is exhibited in practical forms such as: punctuality, preparedness, positive work ethic, an understanding of and respect for stakeholders, perseverance, and observance of and appropriate response to policy and procedures. The faculty of the teacher education program believe that the program should produce teachers who will do the following:

  1. make the connection between the moral purposes of education and personal behavior
  2. be positive role models
  3. exhibit ethical and moral values in their personal and professional relationships
  4. demonstrate and encourage students to demonstrate a sense of honesty, integrity, and fair play in all human relationships
  5. develop professional relationships in harmony with the Judeo-Christian ethic
  6. recognize and develop sensitivity to differing value systems.

D. Wellness

The philosophy of wellness at Evangel University includes the development of the total person. The university desires “that students live joyfully and effectively as they apply Biblical principles of mental health… that students grow in self-awareness and self-esteem and to be realistic in their self appraisals… that they mature in managing their emotions, in making choices, and being effective in their interpersonal relationships and productive in serving others” (Vision Catalog, 1998).

The university is concerned “about the physical well-being of the student. Since the body is the temple of the Holy spirit, the student needs to be aware of how critical it is that the body be given proper care through nutrition, rest, sleep, exercise, and recreation. While we abhor drug and chemical abuse of the body, it is unbiblical to abuse or neglect the body in other ways” (Vision Catalog, 1998).

The national emphasis on physical fitness had its beginnings in 1956 with the origin of the President’s Council for Physical Fitness under the leadership of President Dwight Eisenhower. In 1963, this program received even greater emphasis from his successor, John D. Kennedy, who saw the continued need for enhancing the “shape of America” (Kennedy, 1963).

Since that time, the enthusiasm to be physically fit has given way to the pressure to increase productivity and prosperity. The American way has become, “do more, do it faster, do it more efficiently, so that more can be accumulated.” This attitude has taken a stressful toll on the American work force. There is a continued increase in worker absenteeism due to stress-related illnesses. Workers pushing themselves beyond exhaustion have been a primary reason for many job-site accidents. These factors have contributed to the $150 million spent each year for stress related medical claims ( AustinBusiness Journal). Many who began careers with the intention of having a thriving lifestyle have dissipated to a level of just surviving from day to day.

The physical fitness program presented by the Kennedy administration was an avenue to combat workplace stress. However, in more recent years, Americans have begun to see that there is more to a better existence than just giving attention to their bodies. Their focus has expanded to achieve peak fitness in all aspects of life. The development of this concept is known as wellness. Wellness calls for a consistent effort to maintain sound health and to ad advance toward the highest potential for the total person (Hoeger and Hoeger, 1993).

Wellness includes a combination of six elements of existence. First, maintenance of good physical health through exercise, sound consumption habits, and avoidance of detrimental substances must be practiced. Second, an individual must work toward emotional stability by developing a positive self-concept. Third, progress must be made in intellectual development with sound problem-solving techniques and critical thinking skills. Fourth, there must be spiritual growth that would influence the development of personal compassion and empathy. Fifth, the individual must possess interpersonal and social skills by establishing supportive relationships. Finally, there must be an understanding of the impact the environment has on the individual and visa versa. All of these dimensions are woven together. The development of one quality can have a dynamic effect upon the others. For example, as an individual begins to fulfill goals for personal fitness and sees his physique develop, his self-concept and confidence begins to rise. This confidence directly influences an increased interest in developing personal relationships (Fahey, Insel, and Roth, 1997). However, developing one element does not insure the improvement of others. Complete wellness emphasizes balance in the building of each dimension (Prentice, 1991).

Many benefits may be derived from a wellness program. People who participate in one tend to live life to its fullest with fewer health problems than others who do not practice wellness. While it is difficult to compile an all-inclusive list of the benefits of wellness, the following list provides a summary: relieves tension and helps in coping with stresses of life; increases levels of energy and job productivity; slows down the aging process; improves self-image and morale and aids in fighting depression; motivates toward positive lifestyle changes; improves quality of life; and makes people feel and live better (Corbin, 1985). Medical research increasingly confirms the value of a wellness program in achieving and maintaining health and well being (MAHPERD, 1987).

For the self-motivated, maintaining personal wellness offers little challenge. But those with unhealthy lifestyle habits need incentives for personal change. Corporations as well as school districts have developed wellness programs laden with attractive incentives to motivate employees to make lifestyle changes (Leavy, 2000). Some businesses offer discount memberships to local health clubs as long as the employees go at least eight times a month (Groeneveld, 2000). Others offer lower health care premiums as well as elimination of co-pays for doctor visits for those employees who voluntarily enroll in the corporate wellness program ( Groves, 2000).

The future teacher must be a person who is mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually well. The faculty of the teacher education program is committed to developing graduates who are exhibiting lifestyles as evidenced by:

  1. Physical wellness that includes proper nutrition and rest, regular physical exercise, and lack of substance abuse or misuse.
  2. A stable and balanced emotional makeup that avoids extremes in behavior.
  3. Utilization of effective stress management techniques.
  4. Effective integration of faith and learning.

E. Multicultural Awareness

The face of America’s classroom is changing at a rapid pace. In addition to increased ethnic diversity, today’s children bring with them a variety of abilities, learning styles, language preferences, economic status, and family backgrounds. Teacher preparation programs need to be structured in such a way as to prepare teachers to successfully meet the challenge of working with a wide range of students. Colleges and universities are increasingly being held accountable for preparing qualified teachers who can give each child the education he or she deserves (Children’s Defense Fund, 2000).

The basic objectives of Evangel University address the issue of tolerance for cultural and individual differences. “Essential to a full Christian world-view is the development of understanding and appreciation for the diversity of human culture and heritage” ( Vision Catalog, 2000, p. 164). The University also desires that its graduates will have an awareness of current social issues and compassion for human need. Therefore, the faculty of the teacher education program believe that a graduate will be one who will:

  1. exhibit a knowledge of and appreciation for ethnocultural diversity within schools
  2. demonstrate in professional relationships a tolerance for differences in others
  3. have the necessary skills to meet the needs of diverse learners as demonstrated through the design, creation, and implementation of curriculum and instruction in the classroom
  4. demonstrate the skills and competencies necessary for training students to live in a pluralistic society.

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Dispositions Of the Evangel University Teacher Education Graduate

  1. Has enthusiasm for the discipline. (Standard * 1)
  2. Is committed to student learning. (Standard 2)
  3. Is concerned for the whole child. (Standard 2)
  4. Appreciates multiple perspectives. (Standard 3)
  5. Appreciates and respects diversity and individuality and believes all students can learn. (Standard 3)
  6. Engages in appropriate practice. (Standards 4 and 11)
  7. Values planning for instruction and appropriate revision of plans as needed. (Standard 4)
  8. Values development of students’ critical thinking and independent problem solving. (Standard 5)
  9. Establishes a positive classroom climate. (Standard 6)
  10. Encourages student self-expression and open discussion in a culturally sensitive setting. (Standard 6)
  11. Recognizes the value of intrinsic motivation to students’ life-long learning. (Standard 6)
  12. Is a thoughtful and responsive listener. (Standard 7)
  13. Values and is committed to ongoing assessment that is aligned with instruction and student learning. (Standard 8)
  14. Recognizes professional responsibility to engage in appropriate professional practices and development. (Standard 9)
  15. Respects privacy and confidentiality. (Standard 9)
  16. Is a life-long learner, committed to continuous learning. (Standard 9)
  17. Is sensitive to community. (Standard 10)
  18. Is willing to give and receive help. (Standard 10)
  19. Makes students feel valued. (Standard 10)
  20. Encourages and supports colleagues. (Standard 10)
  21. Is willing to work with others. (Standard 10)

*The term “standard” refers to the Missouri state quality indicators (MoSTEP) that are based on the INTASC standards.